At Everlastly, we’re on a journey to uncover the true environmental cost of the products we buy, so shoppers like you can make more environmentally friendly choices.
For most people, it’s next to impossible to compare the impact of different household goods just by looking at the label. We’re here to change that. It isn’t easy, but we’re committed to working hard to get better and better every day because that’s required to create a more sustainable economy.
How It Works
We gather data and use an algorithm to determine the impact of household goods based on five sustainability indicators:
Here’s what goes into an Evergrade rating:
We consider carbon footprint to be the most reliable environmental impact data available. It represents the greenhouse gases emitted from the materials sourcing, manufacturing and transportation of consumer products. Because this is at the center of the climate challenge, carbon footprint data is a significant component of our methodology.
To calculate carbon footprint, first we look at each product’s ‘CO2e footprint’. The ‘e’ is for “equivalent” which incorporates all greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide and methane. It’s measured “cradle-to-gate,” which includes materials extraction and processing, manufacturing, and transportation. This data comes directly from cloud-based lifecycle inventories including ecoinvent, through a tool called the 2030 Calculator.
It’s helpful to know the carbon footprint of a product, but it only tells you so much when you’re shopping. There’s huge variability between products both across and within shopping categories; how does one compare small pans to big ones, or say a blender to a butter knife?
To make it easier for consumers to evaluate a product’s relative carbon footprint, we include an absolute CO2e footprint score, along with a functional score called a ‘carbon efficiency ratio,’ which is calculated as CO2e/kg. The carbon efficiency ratio is a good indicator of which products are using the most carbon efficient materials, processes and transport.
Using this method, we can also spot outliers within a shopping category that drive outsized cost to the environment for the utility that a product offers, either from an absolute or relative CO2e footprint perspective. When we find one of those products, we remove it from our catalog.
To account for the environmental benefits of longer-lasting products, which have to be replaced less often and are less likely to end up in a landfill, Evergrade includes an analysis of a product’spredicted lifespan.Consider the environmental impact of buying a non-stick pan that has to be thrown away and replaced every few years, versus a cast iron option that will last a lifetime (or longer).
To score products for durability, we assess several factors including research on generally assumed lifespan for product categories, scientific assessment of tensile and compressive strength for raw materials in each product, and a comprehensive look at how products are actually faring after purchase in the real world.
We also take into account manufacturer warranties, which generally function as a guarantee of durability. Warranties place a financial responsibility on the manufacturer to use durable materials and workmanship to extend the lifespan of a product.
We love it when manufacturers think about how to minimize waste in production, as well as what happens to their products at the end of life. Circularity is a concept that focuses on reusing materials, instead of extracting and disposing of virgin materials each time a product is consumed.
Products are considered more sustainable if they use a higher percentage of recycled content, as well as readily recyclable, compostable or biodegradable materials.
In addition to evaluating the composition of products, we give higher scores to those companies that offer ‘take-back’ programs. Take-back programs allow consumers to return a product at the end of its useful life, placing responsibility on the manufacturer to dispose of the product and/or its packaging. These programs typically incentivize manufacturers to design their products to be easily disassembled and recycled or upcycled, contributing to a circular economy.
Third-party energy and ecological certifications can be a strong indicator of sustainability. We factor certifications from legitimate, reputable organizations around the world into our environmental impact model.
Certifications play a vital role in ensuring that manufacturers' claims are in fact true. With thousands of eco-certifications in existence, we evaluate each certification to avoid giving products credit for “greenwashing” certifications that aren’t based in science.
In the era of online shopping, packaging and shipping materials can be a significant factor of a product’s environmental impact. If you’ve ever received a package only to find a shocking amount of plastic or other unnecessary materials in the box, you can probably understand how important it is to reduce packaging waste.
Evergrade gives higher scores to products that use efficient, environmentally responsible packaging materials. We look for packaging that uses recycled content, compostable materials, or at a minimum, certified sustainably-harvested virgin materials. It’s also valuable for the end consumer to be able to easily recycle or compost packaging at home.
In addition to evaluating the packaging materials, we deduct points from companies that use inefficient shipping materials such as unnecessary double wrapping, double boxing, or materials like styrofoam, which have negative impacts to the planet.